A Cameroonian albino explains: “People think we are magical creatures, that we’ve come back from the dead as a punishment from God for something we did in our previous life.”
Certain parts of the body of an albino, including the skin, tongue, hands, ears, skull, heart, and genitals are believed to have magic powers and are prized as ingredients in potions and charms. There is a brisk trade in these organs, and they fetch a good price.
Many Africans fear children who are “badly born:” those who emerge from the womb in an irregular way, have some physical defect, or are born with teeth. These babies are thought to bring bad luck, and may be killed immediately after birth. Many that are not killed are exposed, or if they are kept, they may be shunned from an early age. Unlike witchcraft, Miss Cimpric reports that these practices are in decline, but are still common in Benin.
In some parts of Africa, twins are met with rejoicing, but in others they are another example of “bad birth.” The Thonga of Zambia think twin births cause drought. Elsewhere, people associate them with animal spirits, and think they have a special gift for turning into animals.
Many Nigerians think twins can fly, and also cause sickness and misfortune. In one Nigerian incident in 2007, when twins were born, the villagers cried, “They are witches; take them away before they kill us all.” Many twins are exposed, but some are killed outright.
(American Renaissance, Vol. XXII, No. 9, September 2011).